Something to keep an eye on

https://www.pilotonline.com/coronavirus/ct-nw-nyt-covid-cdc-data-trump-20200715-aizxwwrqlbaufjsjig3rlvx7qy-story.html

Our concerns should be the continuing transparency of information concerning the spread of the disease. If the information does not become public, or if it appears to be manipulated, serious questions will arise.

From Will Humble, the executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association and a former director of the state’s Health Services Department, “Trust and accountability and transparency — all three go together,” Humble said. Of the federal government’s new system, he said: “They’d better keep it transparent, or else people are going to think that it was an ulterior motive.”

The cynic in me says there is an ulterior motive. The optimist says the data stream will improve and we will have a clear and accurate picture of what is happening in this country with regard to COVID.

The cynic is louder than the optimist at this point.

4 thoughts on “Something to keep an eye on

  1. I am not enthusiastic about either system, both are subject to overcounting.

    A person goes to one of these community testing facilities and tests positive. He is told to go to his primary care physician, who runs another test and tells him to isolate at home and call the hospital if he has trouble breathing. he goes to the hospital and is tested again. When he recovers he is tested repeatedly until they get negative tests. That’s 4 or more positive tests reported for one patient. If the statisticians are not careful to match identity of each test, they can all be counted as separate cases.

    I’d leave it to the insurance companies, their data matching systems are fully developed to detect duplicate billing and though that is for other reasons, it will provide accurate numbers.

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    1. It’d not just the counts themselves; it is who is getting the numbers and what are they doing with them.

      Also, this is not JUST the testing picture being discussed here. It is the information concerning positive tests AND deaths, not to mention hospitalizations.

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  2. There’re going to be problems (error rates) with any data tracking system updated by humans…and to a small extent automation (i.e., optical scanning).

    Whatever the results happen to be? Various groups are going to spin and twist the data for their own purposes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The raw numbers of positives, hospitalizations, and deaths are numbers the public should know. – IMO. No spin, just the numbers as listed by Johns Hopkins tracker, posted throughout the day on Axios.

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